In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we held back on giving you this "Project Runway" recap so you'd have more time to digest your turkey, and I'd have more time to digest this week's episode. And what a week it was for the wannabe designers as the illustrious Ms. Sarah Jessica Parker graced Parsons with her presence! In the past, I've found the celebrity guests on this show to be rather C-list — "celebrities" like Nicky Hilton (you know, the one who isn't Paris), Nancy O'Dell (talks to famous people) and Tara Conner (Donald Trump told her to go to rehab and she said yes, yes, yes). But this is Sarah Jessica Parker we're talking about, the face of fashion ever since the inception of "Sex and the City" in 1998. With a wardrobe filled with more designer clothing than a floor at Bergdorf's, Carrie Bradshaw introduced many to the fun, inventive and outrageous world of New York fashion.
Imagine my dismay, then, when this challenge was turned into a marketing ploy for Parker's clothing line. Bitten is a line Parker spearheaded to sell high-end American sportswear that costs no more than $40 an item (think cotton T-shirts, sweatpants, knit sweaters). Now don't get me wrong — I'm a firm believer that good quality fashion shouldn't only come at exorbitant prices. But come on, what a tease. The woman put Vogue back en vogue, and you ask these designers to create commercial, mass-marketed clothes? No wonder there was so much crying in this episode. But we'll get to that later. ...
Let's dig in.
Well, once SJP revealed herself to be the celebrity guest, (Sorry, Christian, not Britney, but that would be a challenge, huh?), she detailed this week's task: Create a two-piece look for the clothing line's fall/winter collection that could retail for less than $40, which translates to a $15 budget. The looks had to be completed by midnight. The designers were then given dossiers of the Bitten line to review and 30 minutes to sketch. Tim then explained that this was actually a team challenge, so the designers would pitch to Parker and the seven designs chosen would be developed in pairs. The teams broke down as such (leaders' names appear first): Elisa and Sweet P, Kit and Chris, Victorya and Kevin, Marion and Steven, Ricky and Jack, Christian and Carmen, Rami and Jillian.
Design collaborations have always been a source of amusement on this show. Who could forget last season when Laura and Michael practically had to rip the rosettes out of Angela's hands in the INC challenge? Well, decorative fabric flowers are one thing, but poor Sweet P had to deal with Elisa spitting on the clothes to mark them — oh, I'm sorry, I meant "to imbibe her energy and essence into the fabric." I don't know what planet Elisa's on but apparently its people wear hand-stitched polymorphic dresses. This woman can do no wrong in my eyes. Of course, Elisa wasn't the only designer who made it rain in this episode. What was up with all the tears? I'm amazed Ricky and Jack managed to complete their outfit since Ricky spent half the time teary-eyed, insisting he was "much more than a lingerie designer." And poor, lovable oaf Chris bawled as he explained how "Sex and the City" influenced his move to New York and love of fashion. Steven looked like he may have been about to cry when he realized the amount of work it would take to complete his skirt, but honestly, he squints too much for me to be sure (although his eyes must have been completely closed when he described his and Marion's bohemian rag as "charming").
Christian and Carmen, both sporting their best cockatoo 'dos, actually seemed quite content with themselves, even when Tim warned that their outfit was looking very retro. Christian thought their look was perfect the way it was and wasn't about to change it. Unfortunately, that led to Carmen crying on the runway when asked if Christian should be sent home for his poor design choices. Perhaps in the next challenge Christian can spend less time checking himself out in the mirror and more time heeding Tim's warnings.
The Runway Guest Judge: Sarah Jessica Parker
Kit "Pistol" Scarbo and Chris March with model Marie: Long black fleece pocket top with black jersey leggings. Styled with French beret. Safe.
Elisa Jimenez and "Sweet P" Vaughn with model Katie: Bright-blue draped-sleeve mini-dress with neck bow and heather-gray wool cape with tie closure. Parker thought it was sexy but appropriate. Heidi described the look as getting a lot for the money, but encouraged Elisa to refrain from spitting on the clothing. Top two.
Rami Kashou and Jillian Lewis with model Lea: Black belted kimono-sleeved shirtdress with black tights. Safe.
Marion Lee and Steven Rosengard with model Jacqueline: Belted boat-neck sweater dress in light brown with shredded-edge detailing and layered skirt. Nina liked the idea but not the proportions. Michael called it a "Pocahontas moment." Parker thought they were going for Hermès bohemian chic but missed the mark. Heidi thought it looked "out of the basement." Asked if both designers should go, Steven remarked, "I don't like the idea of that, no." Bottom two.
Victorya Hong and Kevin Christiana with model Anna Lita: Plaid racerback mini-vest with dark gray shirtdress and bow detailing at neck. Parker liked how Victorya made simplicity interesting and really paid attention to the rest of the Bitten line. Nina found it charming and accessible to women of all ages and sizes. Top two.
Christian Siriano and Carmen Webber with model Lisa: Bold teal stretch turtleneck dress with long-sleeve paneled jacket in black and gray. Pleating details at shoulders. Michael found it very ambitious but not wearable by women of many shapes. Nina said it was too '80s, very retro. Parker thought the dress needed more length. When asked who should go home, Carmen began to cry before Christian offered himself up as the scapegoat. Bottom two.
Ricky Lizalde and Jack Mackenroth with model Lauren: Flirty fuschia dress with ruched peasant top and dark leather braided belt. Safe.
Winning designer with immunity: Victorya Hong
Out: Marion Lee
Out model: Wendy